Mark Ugboh, a Nigerian goalkeeper, has signed a five-year deal with Danish soccer giants FC Midtjylland.
It is not the first time a Nigerian player has been associated with the Danish giants, who have won three Superligean champions. In recent years, Midtjylland has been a fertile ground for players from Nigeria to grow before they transition to more competitive leagues in Europe.
On the other hand, Nigeria produces a lot of talent that has performed well globally. If you normally wager on Nigerian soccer, you will have a chance to see some of these emerging talents before they go to Europe.
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Ugboh, who started at FC Ebedei, will be looking at some of his compatriots who have followed a similar path and hope for better days ahead.
The goalie started his career in Europe in January by joining Midtjylland’s under-19 team from FC Ebedei. He has capitalized on the nine months he has been there to prove his ability beyond doubt.
He played seven games for the youth team and kept five clean sheets. Furthermore, his performances did not go unnoticed as he was given a first-team role, albeit on the bench in the Champions League qualifier against Benfica and AEK Larnaca. His brilliance saw the club promote him to the senior team and offer him a five-year contract.
Midtjylland goalkeeping coach Lasse Heinze claimed that they believe in the young goalkeeper. He also claimed that Ugboh has really developed in the past six months and has a long way to go.
According to coach Heinze, most of the things the Nigerian goalkeeper has are things he had learned himself. Consequently, the club has focused on developing his technical level.
Moreover, the club is focused on developing the player further and is hopeful that he will play games in the MCH Arena.
Coach Heinze also revealed that Ugboh is a calm goalkeeper and is very comfortable in goal despite his young age. He also stated that Ugboh is an offensive-minded goalkeeper with many of the attributes the club expects from a goalkeeper.
Despite signing a new contract, Ugboh will still have to wait for some time before he becomes the club’s number one goalkeeper.
Currently, former Huddersfield goalkeeper Jona Lossl is the club’s first-choice keeper. But, should he continue his current development, it will only be a matter of time before he gets that number one spot and earns a call-up to the national team.